God is going to judge Judah and Jerusalem. The social problems of this judgement are spelled out in Isaiah 3. One particular aspect of this judgment is worth considering. God promises, “I will make mere youths their officials, children will rule over them” (Isaiah 3:1). The Bible makes it abundantly clear that youth often have greater moral integrity than their forebears. So why is it a problem for young people to lead if they are better suited?
Ideally, a society would be full of virtuous people, young and old. In such idyllic times, it is always better to have those with wisdom gained through experience to guide, train, and prepare the next generation to lead. God isn’t downplaying the gifts or skills of the young by promising this judgement. Rather, God is warning that Judah will have no effective leaders from older generations, for they will either have been defeated or unfit for leadership. This is bad for a nation, and it is bad for the youth that need guidance.
Switching our focus to the church, I argue we should celebrate the gifts of youth, but we need older, God-fearing people to be involved in supporting and leading the next generation. If such leadership were to disappear or be negligent, there will be negative effects on the generations to follow. May we be a people who affirm the gifts of the youth, but have the safety net of wise counselors in our midst.